Noel Nouvelet is a typically vibrant Vasari mix of traditional carols and exciting arrangements of familiar tunes, reflecting the choir’s ongoing desire to dress up the traditional in new clothes, to blend tradition with innovation. So, for example, alongside Kenneth Leighton's beautiful Coventry Carol, Naji Hakim’s exuberant version of Ding dong! Merrily on high and Morten Lauridsen’s powerful O magnum mysterium sits Ward Swingle’s arrangement of Mel Tormé's Christmas Song, Jonathan Rathbone's sumptuous arrangement of Silent Night and Nigel Short's equally lush adaptation of Away in a manger. The CD also includes several world premiere recordings, including Love came down at Christmas by Humphrey Clucas and Andrew Carter's firmly tongue-in-cheek showpiece arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Church Music Quarterly
23rd December 2008
“The singing certainly has the freshness and clarity that one associates with this fine choir and unique elements are provided by such tracks as Naji Hakim’s virtuosic arrangement of Ding Dong! Merrily on High...The stylistic breadth of the Vasari Singers is dazzlingly demonstrated on this recording...A very fine disc. Essential listening.”
“There are few traditional carols here, but my attention was fully held throughout – not least because of the superb singing...I was consistently impressed by the sheer quality of their artistry here – intonation, phrasing and enunciation are all of an exceptional standard...This is a fabulous CD, brilliantly recorded.”
28th November 2007
“musical standards in terms of both the music and the performance are extremely high...performances [are] committed and sensitive without any of the self-conscious exactitude to which some choirs are prone, and a clear but atmospheric recording”
13th November 2007
“this disc, as well as housing five world premiere CD recordings, boasts a fine collection of arrangements and unusual interpretations of familiar numbers.The whole is conducted thoughtfully by Jeremy Backhouse, while Jeremy Filsell accompanies clearly and responsibly on the organ.”
“the joy and vigour with which they sing and the innovativeness of these arrangement make this a welcome addition to any Christmas CD list.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.